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Professor Boateng Tells Institute of Directors Zimbabwe and Policy Makers to Negotiate, Agree and then Contract for Long-Term Competitiveness and National Development

The Institute of Directors Zimbabwe hosted their 10th anniversary Director of the Year Awards dinner last Friday, 29 May 2015. As the Esteemed Guest of Honour for the evening, Professor Douglas Boateng, Africa’s first Professor Extraordinaire in Supply and Value Chain Management, addressed over 250 Zimbabwean decision makers and ‘captains’ of industry on the importance of negotiation for long-term competitiveness and national development in the country.

Presenting a discussion entitled: Were We Ever on the Same Page: Negotiate, Agree in Specificities, and then Contract, Professor Boateng noted that “one of the most important, but often misunderstood aspects of supply chain management is negotiation.” During his address Professor Boateng highlighted some of the reasons why a relative lack of negotiation on the continent is not only hampering the sustainability and competitiveness of the supply chain industry, but also has a negative impact on region-wide service delivery, organisational value chain performance, and broader socio-economic development.

Drawing attention to the findings of a six-year purposive study on director-level perceptivities on aspects of supply chain management, Professor Boateng highlighted the differences between negotiation and bargaining, andargued that while “bargaining tends to focus on short-term price-chiseling,” negotiation involves“engaging on equal terms for mutual benefit.”
Unlike bargaining, negotiation “is not about ‘winning’ or ‘losing,’ nor is it about attaining cheaper prices. Rather, since it is seen as the catalyst for building long-term win-win relationships, negotiation is about compromise,” he said. He further suggested that appreciating negotiation’s strategic importance and involving the right professionals from the outset can assist with achieving win-win value chain agreements and subsequent long-term contracts.

Based on the research findings, he recommended that in order to reverse current bargaining trends in Africa, it is important that supply chain organisations, professionals, executives and directors move away from price-chiseling practices and towards long-term negotiation.

In this regard he insisted that not only will a shift towards engaged negotiation facilitate organisational success and value creation, but it will also help to move the Zimbabwean supply chain environment in line with industry specificbest practice.

Edward Siwela, Executive Director of the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe confirmed that the presentation “was well received by the delegates,” and thanked Professor Boateng for his donation of the Executive Insights into Strategic Sourcingresource book. “They will no doubt influence change in the way purchasing is viewed and managed,” Siwela said

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